This is the third of five installments of a series exploring the culture and perspectives of self and others within the margins of Ohio Northern University’s (ONU) five colleges: Claude W. Pettit College of Law, Raabe College of Pharmacy, James F. Dicke College of Business Administration, T.J. Smull College of Engineering, and Getty College of Arts and Sciences. This publication investigates the James F. Dicke College of Business Administration students, their identity, routines, and their insight on students belonging to other colleges. 

Ohio Northern University’s Dicke College of Business Administration has cultivated a unique and complex culture seemingly characterized by two groups of students: high achieving and involved and those with no regard for engagement, professional development, or extracurricular activities. There is a common stereotype that business majors in college are less impressive than students in STEM fields, with some believing that business majors are lazy and lack analytical and technical skills. However, this culture is often misconstrued. Although business students may be viewed as lazy, uninvolved, or less impressive compared to their counterparts in other academic programs such as pharmacy, engineering, and law, this may not be a fair representation of the diverse set of skills and knowledge that business majors develop.

Indeed, business majors may not have the same technical expertise in STEM fields such as engineering or computer programming. However, they do develop strong analytical skills in areas such as finance, accounting, and marketing, which are essential to success in business. Additionally, business majors often focus on entrepreneurship, management, and creating value for customers and stakeholders rather than solely on innovation and scientific discovery. It is essential to acknowledge that business students have different goals and areas of focus than other majors. Business majors are required to take a range of courses and participate in challenging projects, such as case studies and group presentations, which require significant effort and dedication. Many business students also engage in internships and other hands-on experiences to gain practical skills and knowledge.

The Dicke College of Business Administration has built in programming to help the less ambitious students still graduate with accomplishments. According to their curriculum, every major within the college has to have a LinkedIn, an independent internship, and present at least one pitch. This structure allows students to go above and beyond or pass the minimum requirements to get a job after graduation. 

The high-achieving and involved students in the Dicke College of Business hold similar characteristics among one another. They typically display leadership qualities as they participate in a variety of clubs and organizations on campus, such as the American Marketing Association, the Financial Management Association, and the Society For Advancement Of Management. These students demonstrate high levels of ambition as they pursue academic, professional, and personal growth. They leverage the college’s resources, such as networking events, career fairs, and guest speakers, as well as engage in activities like case competitions, internships, and study abroad programs. These students recognize the importance of gaining diverse experiences to develop their skill sets and set themselves apart in the job market. As noted in the interview, these students group together to share their internship opportunities and climb the corporate ladder together. But what about the other group?

The other side of the Dicke College of Business is a second group of students who do not take advantage of the opportunities provided by the college that may explain the stereotype of the lazy and disengaged student. They exhibit minimal interest in extracurricular activities and often prioritize academic work above all else. Other than athletics, these students are not involved in any clubs or organizations and rarely seek internships or other professional experiences – other than what is required. They may not value extracurricular activities or may have limited time and resources to participate. 

There is a prevalent stereotype that business students are lazy, uninvolved, and less impressive than their counterparts in other academic programs. However, this stereotype is not entirely accurate. The Dicke College of Business is home to many high-achieving and involved students who are just as impressive as students in other academic programs. Yet, the stereotype may still ring true for some of their students. Nonetheless, the persistence of this stereotype poses challenges for other business students in overcoming the stigma.

The Dicke College of Business has a unique culture characterized by two groups of students: the zeros or heroes. The high-achieving students take advantage of the opportunities provided by the college. In contrast, the other students prioritize academic work above all else and are not found anywhere on campus other than a sports field. Regardless, it is vital to acknowledge the challenge that this stereotype has on labeling business students as being unimpressive or disengaged.

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